First, just a little bit of background. There are three major candicates in this contest: Lee Myeong-bak from Grand National Party (GNP), Jeong Dong-yeong from New Democratic Party (NDP), and independent candidate Lee Hoi-chang. A lot of Mr. Jeong's hopes rode on an investigation against Mr. M. Lee on a possible corruption charge. Unfortunately for Mr. Jeong, the national prosecutor's office of Korea (equivalent to Department of Justice in the U.S.) last week announced that Mr. Lee had no involvement in the corruption scheme.
Dismayed, Mr. Jeong mobilized his party to submit a bill to impeach the prosecutor in charge of that case, essentially arguing that there must have been some type of collusion between the prosecutor and Mr. Lee. However, the bill was pressed for time, given that it has to start before the presidential election. Uri Party did have the majority in the National Assembly (=Congress in the U.S., except there is only one house), but GNP minority was none to happy about the bill
, and vowed to stop it. And so follows the story....
(The Korean's note: the following is a direct translation from this article on Dong-A Ilbo, except for parenthetical comments. On the link, you can also see some awesome videos as well.)
Although roughly 100 of GNP Assemblymen, occupying the Main Chamber of the National Assembly, locked the door from inside, at approximately 5:20 p.m. roughly 100 of the NDP Assemblymen stormed the Main Chamber and took over the chairman's seat in 45 minutes.
At 5:20 p.m. this day, upon orders by Chairman Lim, deputies of National Assembly cut the steel wire that held the inside door knob with a chainsaw. As the Main Chamber doors opened, NDP Assemblymen rushed toward the chairman's seat occupied by GNP Assemblymen. (Steel wire! Chainsaw! Ladies and gentlemen, the National Assembly of Korea -- just as screwed up as U.S. Congress, but a whole lot more entertaining!)
NDP Asm. Seon Byeong-ryeol ran toward the podium and choked GNP Asm. Jeong Du-eon, and Asm. Jeong Bong-ju attempted to jump on the chairman's seat but pushed out by GNP Assemblymen's defense. (Defense! uh uh defense!) One NDP Assemblyman slapped Asm. Bak Gye-dong, causing him to fall off the podium. Asm. Bak chased after the NDP Assemblyman, but was blocked by NDP Assemblymen and failed to exact his revenge. (Way to protect your slap-back!)
NDP Assemblymen yelled "Come down you [expletive]," and GNP Assemblymen did not back down, responding "Apologize to the people." Both sides pushed and shoved, trying to occupy the chairman's seat. Asm. Seo Gap-wo was poked in the eye by Asm. Sim Jae-cheol during the pushing and shoving. (There is no holding back people!)
Around 5: 50, the defensive line began to crumble as Asm. Gang Gi-jeong hit Assemblymen Choe Gu-sik and Gim Yeong-suk, who were guarding the right side of the podium, several times with a phone, and as Asm. Jeong Bong-ju jumped on top of GNP Assemblymen. (The phone! The defense's only weakness -- how did he know? Also, note that Gim Yeong-suk is a woman. There truly is no holding back.)
Asm. Jeong Bong-ju was trying to push out Asm. Sim Jae-cheol, but was pushed by Asm. Sim's cane, which he carries to assist his walking. (The cripple did it! Get the cripple!) Despite Asm. Sim's resistance, Asm. Jeong pulled him out, and also pulled out Spokesman Na Gyeong-won, who was also guarding the chairman's seat.
Finally, NDP occupied the chairman's seat 45 minutes after the entrance to the Main Hall. At that time, as Minority Leader An Sang-su relayed the message by Chairman Lim to both parties' leaders, "Judiciary Committee shall deliberate on [the bill] until [Decenber] 17th," GNP Assemblymen retreated from the chairman's seat.
Asm. Cha Myeong-jin, who was guarding the podium, was carried to a nearby hospital's emergency room, as he hurt his back while being thrown down by NDP Assemblymen. However, NDP Spokesman Choe Jae-seong said "Asm. Cha fell because GDP Assemblymen pushed him" in a briefing shortly after the occupation of the chairman's seat.
In addition, GNP Asm. An Hong-jun was injured when Asm. Jeong Bong-ju bit his finger (Looks like Mr. Jeong was the top gun), and Asm. Ju Seong-yeong was treated at a hospital for chest injury. Asm. Gang Gi-jeong also received hospital treatment after suffering bruises on his neck. (Oh no! I had those two in my fantasy Korean Assemblymen Fight League!)
Previously on this day, Minority Leader An and other 100-odd GNP Assemblymen occupied the Main Hall and locked the door with a steel wire. They also piled on furniture in front of the door, blocking the entrance.
Majority Leader Gim Hyo-seok and other 100-odd NDP Assemblymen protested in front of the main entrance as they attempted to enter main hall since 2 p.m., when they decided to open the Assembly. By their side, GNP staffer heckled them by singing "na na na na, na na na na, hey hey, good bye~"
(Seriously, you can't make this stuff up.)
Got a question or a comment for the Korean? Email away at firstname.lastname@example.org.